Abelana Safari Camp
The camp is small, accommodating eight guests in five Meru-style tents. It’s located in an elevated position in the remote southern part of the reserve amid spectacular granite outcrops known locally as “koppies” and overlooks a large watering hole below the camp’s expansive viewing deck.
The views over the bushveld are spectacular and daily guided walks and game drives allow guests to explore large tracts of bush in absolute exclusivity.
The Meru-style tents are simple yet comfortable and well-appointed, offering an authentic safari experience. The tents are all equipped with beds offering a twin or king size configuration with lighting provided by solar power.
Because we are located in a water-scarce region each tent is equipped with a shower rather than a bath, with hot water provided by gas geysers always available.
Food is home-cooked, often over an open fire, using locally sourced fresh produce. The camp does not offer a luxury culinary experience as the menu is a set affair, but we do try and cater to individual preferences provided we have prior notice of dietary requirements at the time of booking.
The camp has a large tented mess and lounge area with an honour bar system and a range of reference books. There is a charging station for camera batteries and phones. Unfortunately, wi-fi is not available due to the remote location.
Abelana Safari Camp offers morning walking safaris and afternoon game drives each day.
Walking safaris are perhaps the most authentic way to experience the African bush. It’s only on foot that you cease to be an observer and become part of the environment, truly taking in the uniqueness of your surroundings and all the smaller components that make up the broader ecosystem. On foot in the bush you will feel a sense of belonging to something much bigger than yourself.
Our walks are conducted at a leisurely pace but could last as long as four hours, enabling you to discover the smaller flora and fauna of the reserve. At times it is possible that you will be the only trailists or game viewing vehicle on any part of the reserve. The guides are experienced and well qualified having worked in the industry for many years and will conduct all activities in a safe and informative manner. We want our guests to have fun while enjoying the wilderness and hopefully learning from the experience.
Guided morning walking safaris;
Guided game drives in the afternoon and into the evening with a spotlight;
Exclusive Use Option
We have made provision for guests to book the whole of Abelana Safari Camp at a specific set rate, thereby allowing activities to be tailored completely to individual preferences. Our staff will suggest options for your consideration.
What to Bring
For walking it is essential that you bring comfortable shoes or boots and preferably long trousers and long sleeve shirts or t-shirts in neutral colours such as khaki, green or brown. Bright colours that stand out are inadvisable on walks from a safety perspective. A soft cap or hat is essential for protection from the sun.
On game drives or in camp sandals, flip flops, or casual shoes are sufficient.
A jacket and jersey/fleece are necessary on cold days and particularly in the colder winter months from May to September.
Other useful items to bring on safari include a small torch with batteries, sunscreen, insect repellent, cameras, binoculars and any personal medication. The camp does have a basic first aid kit. Cash for tips and drinks recommended.
Safety and Health
Abelana is a relatively low risk malaria area and malaria is a treatable disease, but as a precaution guests are strongly advised to consult with a doctor prior to travel to establish what malaria medication to take and when to commence any course.
Guests are requested to ensure they have adequate travel insurance to cover emergencies, cancellations, evacuation and hospitalisation as well as loss of any personal items.
Abelana is a remote area with potentially dangerous wild animals present. This is part of its attraction. All safaris are led by expert armed guides with experience in conducting these activities. It must however be noted that all activities are conducted at own risk and travel and medical insurance is advised.
As guest vehicles are not permitted to drive on the reserve it is important that you plan your trip to arrive at the relevant gate at or close to specific times. This is particularly important to ensure that you can participate in all safari activities on the day of your arrival.
Arrival/Check in time: 14h00
Departure/Check out time: 11h00
Abelana Safari Camp Horse Safaris
At Abelana Safari Camp we offer personalised horse safaris for experienced riders. The three, four or seven night safaris offer guests the chance to to explore the 15,000ha big five Abelana Game Reserve, accompanied by experienced guides. As well as being environmentally friendly, being on horseback often provides excellent, up-close game sightings as horse and riders are perceived by wildlife to be part of the landscape and non-threatening.
Riding safaris are designed for groups of no more than eight people and operate throughout the year. In summer – the hottest time of year and our rainy season – the duration of rides may vary depending on the weather and heat levels. Small groups enable us to tailor-make the experience and exceed guest expectations. The seven-night safaris have scheduled departures, so please contact us for availability.
The 12 boerperd and boerperd crossbred horses at Abelana are well-schooled and have been ridden extensively in a Big Five reserve environment. The boerperd is a South African breed, originally of Arab descent, that is known for being strong and hardy. The horses at Abelana are calm and used to being out in the bush and encountering wild animals.
Accommodation is at Abelana Safari Camp and morning rides generally leave early, lasting approximately three hours and returning to camp for brunch. Guests will be able to relax in camp during the hotter part of the day, either in their en-suite tent, in the main lounge area or on the elevated viewing deck with extensive views over an active waterhole. An afternoon ride for between two and three hours will take place after tea and will culminate with sundowners back at camp or out in the bush, from where you will be transported back to camp in an open game viewer, spotting nocturnal animals en-route. From January 2020 the option of a full-day approximately 30km trail ride with an overnight stay at the newly built Abelana River Lodge on the Selati River will be available. Should guests wish to have a break from riding, a game drive or walk can be arranged.
The seven-night safari itinerary:
Nights one to three at Abelana Safari Camp, including a half-day excursion to the Kruger National Park.
Nights four and five at Abelana River Lodge following a full-day ride.
Nights six and seven back at Abelana Safari Camp.
Safety and Equipment
Saddles and tack are provided but guests are requested to bring their own equipment and kit for rides. Helmets are compulsory for all riding activities. The safety of guests is paramount and all guests joining one of our safaris will be required to demonstrate an appropriate level of skill and ability prior to commencing any horse safari. A full briefing will cover all aspects of safety while on safari and our guides will ensure that the required rules are adhered to.
All safaris are led by Tamlyn Whitebread with a qualified and experienced back-up rider/guide. Tamlyn has a degree in nature conservation and is a qualified safari guide who combines her love for horses with her passion for the bush.
Abelana Safari Camp offers an intern experience for young riders wishing to obtain a more in-depth understanding of how horse safaris operate. Click here for further information.